Better Business Bureau Report for
Special Pals, Inc.

Better Business Bureau Report issued December 2013
Better Business Bureau Report expires December 2014

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Special Pals, Inc.
Address: 3830 Greenhouse Rd.
  Houston, TX 77084
Phone: 281-579-7387
Web Address:
Also known as:Special Pals - Pet Orphanage & Adoption
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated:
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Our mission is to make a measurable and sustainable difference in the Greater Houston pet population by offering affordable pet care services, rescuing and rehabilitating homeless companion animals, finding forever homes, and providing education about responsible pet ownership. Special Pals is a no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter that relies on your donations to continue making an impact.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Special Pals, Inc. does not meet the following 7 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 6: Board Policy on Effectiveness - Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

 Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board does not have an assessment policy that indicates that the assessment will take place at least once every two years and include recommendations for future actions.

Standard 11: Financial Statements - Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

 Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • The December 31, 2011 audit was submitted for review for the report year, 2013. However, the December 31, 2011 audit was submitted previously for the report year, 2012. A more recent audit is required.

Standard 12: Detailed Functional Breakdown of Expenses - Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

 Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • The IRS Form 990 did not include a detailed functional breakdown of expenses for fundraising.

Standard 13: Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements - Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • The IRS Form 990 inaccurately claimed zero fundraising expenses.

Standard 14: Budget - Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • The buget does not show total projected expenses for programs. fundraising and administration.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

 Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • An Annual Report is not produced or available on the organizations website.

Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures - Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

 Special Pals, Inc. does not meet this Standard because:

  • If the site requests contributions, the IRS Form 990 should be available on the website. The IRS Form 990 is not available on the organization's website.
In addition, the Houston BBB requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s finances and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following 3Standards for Charity Accountability: 8, 9, and 10.
Special Pals, Inc. meets the remaining 10 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Special Pals, Inc provides cats and dogs temporary shelter, health care, an alternative to euthanasia, adoptive homes. They are a limited intake, no kill shelter. They also provide education to the community about the responsibilities of pet ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Total Program Expenses: $
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Chief Executive : Elizabeth Trick, Executive Director

Chair of the Board: Melissa Houser, Chairman of the Board
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Positive Force, Fundraising Consultant

Board Size: 7

Paid Staff Size: 10

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, print advertisements, grant proposals, internet
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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Source of Funds  
Total Income $0


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses


Total income $0
Program expenses $0
Fund raising expenses 0
Administrative expenses 0
Total expenses $0
Beginning net assets 0
Ending net assets 0
Total liabilities 0
Total assets $0

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 BBB processed a total of 1 complaint(s) about this business in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 1 complaint(s) closed in the last 36 months, 0 were closed in the last 12 months. 

These complaints concerned:
1 regarding Refund / Exchange Issues
These complaints were closed as:
1 Resolved
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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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